Saddam to sue Bush, Blair and Rumsfeld for war crimes

SADDAM HUSSEIN’S chief lawyer yesterday said that the deposed Iraqi president wanted British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W Bush tried on allegations of committing war crimes.

Khalil al-Dulaimi said Saddam wants to sue both leaders, along with US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for allegedly authorising the use of weapons such as depleted uranium artillery shells, white phosphorous, napalm and cluster bombs.

“We will sue Bush, Blair and Rumsfeld in The Hague for using such weapons of mass destruction,” Mr al-Dulaimi said in Jordan. No complaint has been filed to the International Criminal Court in The Netherlands, but Mr al-Dulaimi said Saddam’s foreign defence team will present it “very soon”. “President Saddam intends to bring those criminals to justice for their mass killings of Iraqis in Baghdad, Ramadi, Fallujah and Qaim and abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib,” said the lawyer.

Saddam also wants all Iraqis who have had relatives killed or had property damaged to receive at least $500,000 each.

There have been several claims the US used outlawed weapons, such as napalm, in the November 2004 Fallujah offensive, but the Pentagon denied using it. In November, the Pentagon acknowledged that US troops used white phosphorous shells as a weapon against insurgent strongholds in the same Fallujah battle, adding they were a standard weapon and not banned by any international weapons convention to which the US was a signatory.

Use of white phosphorous is covered by Protocol III of the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons, which prohibits use of the substance as an incendiary weapon against civilian populations and in air attacks against military forces in civilian areas. The United States is not a signatory to the convention.

Saddam, his half-brother Barzan Ibrahim and six other defendants are on trial for the 1982 killing of more than 140 Shi’ite Muslims after an attempt on Saddam’s life in the northern town of Dujail. They could face death by hanging if convicted. However, the trial, which started October 19, has been complicated by the killings of two defence lawyers, courtroom brawls and Tuesday’s postponement amid the replacement of the tribunal’s top two judges. The case is set to resume on Sunday.

lThe US military handed over five Iraqi women to their families yesterday, a demand sought by militants holding a kidnapped American journalist.

US officials said the release was routine and not related to the kidnapping.

The women were freed from US custody and delivered to the home of a senior Sunni Arab politician in Baghdad, where they were returned to their families.

Armed men who abducted Jill Carroll on January 7 in Baghdad have threatened to kill the freelancer for the Christian Science Monitor unless all Iraqi women prisoners were freed.

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